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2008 Head Monster iM88


Pros: Versatile; Solid & Damp, Confident Feel

Cons: Not for tiny-turn whippersnappers nor laid-back cruise-control types

I demoed these skis for 3 days at Jackson and in short, they rocked. 


My first though picking these boards up from TVS was, "wow these are heavy," and I found that mass translated into a beefy, confidence-inspiring feel on the hill, both on-piste and off.  While cruising the double-blues, these guys locked into a beautiful, rock-solid carve in both medium and long-radius turns as long as I initiated my turns early, and were perfectly capable of banging out shorter arcs with a bit of oomph.


Off-piste, they really shined on the steeps where their damp, solid feel gave me the confidence to go for it, knowing that these skis would give a solid, predictable foundation no matter the pitch or snow - including some relatively hard-packed conditions here & there.  They handled well in Jackson's chutes, trees, and bumps, but I would probably opt for the 175 for a littlle more quickness in tight east coast trees. 


The only minor downside to these skis for me was a tendancy for them to get away from me when my stance became a little less aggressive, and the extra effort required to carve them in shorter turns, but heck, with their GS turn radius, what does one expect? 


I would easily use these as my go-to ski for Jackson, Snowbird, and the like, but would probably go with a little shorter radius and narrower board for my east coast bread and butter.


Highly recommended for big dudes on big mountains!


About me:

I'm 6'3", 210 lbs +/-, and a level 9 +/- skier.  I have an New England instructing and junior racing background, but have been driving a desk for too many years.  I'll qualify this review with the fact that I haven't skied many skis over the years and that this was my first experience with mid-fats.  My ski for many years has been the Volkl P40 Platinum in a 193.


Pros: Stable, responsive, smooth, damp, but still alive

Cons: Heavy; not the best in the bumps

Me: 6', 190 lb. Skiing for ~40 seasons, pretty good skier.  I have a 186 cm pair of 2008 im88s, I ski about 70/30 off/on piste in the Rockies and Cascades. I like powder, chop, gumdrops, steep smooth stuff, trees, buffed out corduroy, and doing pivot slips on semi-crowded cat tracks.


I keep trying to figure these skis out, and happily, I can't. They sort of disappear under you like a classic road bike, always neutral and predictable but fully responsive. They are smooth and beautiful turning machines.  Their mass inspires confidence when you are transitioning into ungroomed snow of indeterminate quality. They don't "pop" from turn to turn, at least not for me, but they go exactly where you want them to go.


I haven't skied them in total-terrain-ignortion powder conditions or on glare ice, so I can't comment on their performance in those conditions. But I'd recommend im88s unconditionally for any other conditions.


Pros: Big Boy Ski

Cons: Big Boy Ski

You want it in a 186?  There it is.  Go for it.  I've owned this ski in a 175 and, now, a 186.  The two are completely different skis, but for this short review, I'll focus on the bigger and badder version.  This is a meaty ski and is intended for aggressive skiers only; but once you get it going, are willing to put some muscle into the turns and some fearlessness into the crud, the 88 will not let you down - at all.


Lot's of people say this ski skis like a GS, but that's not true.  It is true that the turn radius in the 186 is 21m.  It's also true that the 88 boasts vertical sidewalls and two layers of metal.  But construction alone does not a GS ski make.  The 88 is 88mm underfoot, so you suffer if you try to rail a true GS turn - you just won't be able to get the super-strong edge bite that you can fro 65mm underfoot.  That said, the stability and stiffness in this ski (all the way from tip to tail) can match up to just about any turn most mortals can make (but change your side edge angle from 1 to 3).  But if you're looking for a GS ski, buy a GS ski.  If you're looking for something to tear through sweet corn with at 40mph, the 88 is worth a look.


Where this ski lost me, though, was in the glades (but this is not the ski's fault, it's just not made to be hyper-agile).  This is the longest fat ski I've owned and I struggled to whip it around like I did the 175.  Although I haven't skied any tight chutes, I imagine these will be difficult to navigate, unless I can straight-line out....


In sum, if you have to think twice about this ski, you'll definitely want to demo it first to see if it's your style.  For me, I'm still torn between the 175 (Momma Bear) and the 186 (Daddy Bear).  If next year Head makes a Baby Bear, that'd be "just right" for me.





Pros: damp, good edge bite, one ski quiver

You're both right on about the Monster 88's.


For me, the 186 was too much ski and the 175 too short.  Head blew it when they chose 11cm intervals.


So I bought Head Monster 82's at 183cm.  The 82's are slightly softer than the 88's.


Both are damp, medium stiffness, with great edge grip.  They the best one-ski quiver, especially for those who like to ski fast and mostly off-piste.


And I've skied on about 50 different skis the last several years.


Alas, the Head rep says that this is the last year for such Monsters.  Next year's equivalent will have less metal and resemble the Mojo 94.


FYI, for those who want reliable, professional reviews without the corrupting influence of advertising dollars, it's worth subscribing to RealSkiers at www.expertskier.com.  They also have reviews going back almost a decade.


Pros: Pretty much everything

Cons: Not good in deep pow but fine up to the shins.

I've owned 4 pair - which pretty much says it all.  I'm a 6 ft heavier power skier & love their rebound.  May not be ideal for lighter small skiers.


Pros: Rock solid ride, particularly at speed. Some of the best skis I have taken into deep powder.

Cons: Not nimble: there are better choices for bumps or tight trees.

These were one of five pairs I tried (175 cm) up at Alta two years ago in about 18" of fresh to potentially replace my Pocket Rockets which were getting a little long in the tooth. I bought them ex demo the next time I was at my home mountain, Mammoth. I agree with everything said above, particularly about their stability and ability to hold an edge. They are a beefy ride and definitely respond to a firm hand. I have a powder turn that starts with a sharp down weight move- The harder I stomp on them the harder they push back. I love that they do not wimp out and complain about harsh treatment. I still pretty much like to ski in the powder rather than on it so that stomping move brings the skis right back up to the surface and sets me up for the next turn, almost shooting me into the air momentarily. Its quite a fun sensation that I have only gotten from these skis. What they can do well that the Pocket Rockets never did is that they can rail an edge on snow that can be described as pretty firm, though not ice. You do need to pay full attention to what you are doing on them because they will slap you around to get your attention if you let your concentration drift. Though they can turn tight enough for the trees under the Collins Lift at Alta, they wouldn't do so well in tighter trees, like in Shadows at Steamboat. (For those I bought a pair of Blizzard Eos last spring, but that's another subject altogether.) And they are real pigs in tight bumps, like in East Bowl off the #3 Lift at Mammoth Mountain. On wide open runs in all snow conditions short of bullet proof they are hard to beat. As good as they are in light Utah powder, they are a great tool for Sierra Cement as well. BTW, for me on that day at Alta the Dynastar Big Troubles ran a decent second place.

Me: 5' 8", 140 lbs, level 8 or so. Lately you can't keep me out of the trees.


Pros: big mountain skiing versatility for aggressive skiers

Cons: not many...

 These are fantastic skis for big mountain skiing in all conditions except perhaps deeeeep powder. For that, you would probably want something wider under foot. But for moderate powder, day-old tracked out powder, crud, windpack, slop, corn, hardpack-- these skis simply rock. Best I've ever skied (and I've tried a lot of skis over the years). However, I would definitely point out that these are not for relaxed skiing. These are for ripping! You should be an aggressive advanced skier to get the most of these. For a ski this wide (if you are up for it) these skis have incredible edge-to-edge quickness and tail rebound. They feel like race skis but race skis that are wide enough under foot to float in powder. I'm 5'10" 180 lbs and ski these in size 177. Can't recommend them highly enough. I love them most for 'backside' skiing but they're ok on the frontside as well (but that's not where they really thrive).
2008 Head Monster iM88

Head Monster 88 (126/88/112)

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